If you’re thinking about making a significant jewelry purchase in the near future, you have probably read about blood diamonds, conflict gems, and done your research on why you should try to find ethnically sourced jewelry. To help you on your search, because I agree that conflict jewelry should be something to avoid, I compiled a list of the worst countries in the world to purchase jewelry from. A disclaimer before I continue: this list is by no means exhaustive, and not the only aspect you should consider when making a purchase.
You should always try and purchase from a reputable jeweler or online jewelry store, Your jeweler should always know the source of their gemstones and should be able to pretty much route the path of a gem from its mine to their store. If they can’t do that, or in general they brush off your inquires or concern about ethical sourcing or conflict gemstones sites that provide ethical information on tanzanite rings like http://tanzaniteringshq.com is a great place to start.
Remember, although you might fall in love with one specific piece or ring that day, there are a lot of jewelry stores and sellers out there, and you should be able to find exactly what you’re looking for, and make sure that you’re doing your best to make it conflict-free. That’s not to say that you can control everything about the gem you’re buying – nor do I think you should feel an inhibiting sense of guilt or responsibility for your stone’s particular story; but in an age where stones are traceable, we should all do our best to make responsible, ethnical purchasing decisions, even when buying our jewelry.
The worst countries to purchase jewelry from
(In alphabetical order)
Central African Republic
The Republic of Congo / Democratic Republic of Congo
These countries have all been affected by the profit and trade of conflict diamonds and gemstones. These stones have been sold to fund armed conflict and civil war. As in the case of Angola and Sierra Leone, the profits from now notorious “blood diamonds” were used by both war lords and rebels to buy arms and weaponry. Amnesty International estimates that in just three of the countries alone, these conflicts have cost an estimated 3.7 million lives.
So what can I do?
When you’re searching for the perfect gemstone, there’s more to think about than purchasing the one you think fits your style and personality. Think about which also adheres to your ethics as well. You can look for stones, especially diamonds, mined in Canada, Namibia, and Botswana—the latter two countries who specifically work with local miners and survey conditions of mines and the jewelry trade.
When considering a purchase, remember to ask where your gemstone was sourced. Ask questions, and if your jeweler can’t… or refuses to… answer those questions, find another jeweler. You can even ask to see a guarantee that the gemstones that the jeweler is selling are conflict-free. For more information, you can visit www.kimberlyprocess.com to learn about conflict-free diamond regulations.